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Multiplexes jump on the online bandwagon with e-ticketing

19-October-2005
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Multiplexes jump on the online bandwagon with e-ticketing

The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) has released its research findings on Internet user’s proclivity for the entertainment industry and pre disposition to buying movie tickets online.

One of the recommendations made by the report is for multiplexes to increase their online activities for the increasing number of Internet users. The reports have taken a focused view on the growing multiplex market and its synergy with the online world.

Inferring from the report – ‘E-ntertainment, Eyes and Ears tuning to the Internet’ – 72 per cent of Internet users book their tickets in advance, of which 41 per cent prefer multiplexes.

According to this report, 22 per cent of Internet users purchased tickets online once or more, whereas 46 per cent of Internet users are likely to buy movie tickets online. 34 per cent of the online users spend more than Rs 300 on a movie visit.

Clearly, this makes a strong case for multiplexes to develop sustaining e-ticketing infrastructure. The research shows with 28 million Indians online, of which 60 per cent of users are in the 20-40 age group, the prime movie going audience are most likely to book tickets online.

Surmising from the E-commerce Report, ‘The Power Shopper’, 15 per cent of regular e-commerce shoppers have bought online and 27 per cent are likely to buy in the future, an 80 per cent increase.

Currently, there are 73 multiplexes (cumulative 276 screens) across India. It is expected that in the coming years, large multiplex operators will open 50 to 60 multiplex properties across India. Equipped with the latest technology and a more comfortable ambience, multiplexes are drawing more and more viewers. In 2004-05, multiplexes contributed 35 per cent of total box office collection of the top 50 Hindi films.

Interestingly, an important part of ticket collections are through E-ticketing. Movie enthusiasts are favouring it. According to Preeti Desai, President, IAMAI, “Our research report on the entertainment industry dismissed the myth that e-commerce in India is passé. For an online population of 28 million, opportunity to sell online tickets by multiplexes is in the region of Rs 32.67 crore per month which sums it to Rs 390 crore annually, thus showing the magnitude of e-ticketing. Even at a pessimistic estimate of just 30 per cent of the showcased numbers, it’s possible to sell Rs 100 crore worth of movie tickets through online sales.”

According to Shravan Shroff, Managing Director, Sringar Cinemas Ltd, “The introduction of e-ticketing by ‘Fame’ was a result of the realisation of a latent demand and an untapped avenue by theatres and multiplexes across India. This demand was realised with ticket sales of over Rs 91 lakh with over 60,000 sales transactions online conducted between April 2004 and July 2005. Whilst realising the sales effectiveness and worthiness of this channel, it was imperative that we took the experience one step forward with “Real Time Information’ for seats availability allowing patrons to choose their seats. A redesigned website was executed to cater to the customer’s Internet speeds as well to encourage purchases and to allay any security fears of ‘dropped transactions’ due to connectivity issues’.”

Simplifying processes and making the most effective use of technology, Tushar Dhingra, VP-Corporate Communications and Marketing, PVR Ltd, said, “Way back in 1999, we created an ‘Online Club’ concept, which provided a facility of wallet account for members to book tickets, giving us the first mover advantage in the industry. Then we introduced and conceptualised E-Ticketing in 2001, to match up to consumers’ expectations. This made the bookings quite simpler, saving time and money. For the customer, E-ticketing ensured stress-free ticketing, no tickets to lose and no last minute queues for tickets, together with greater opportunities for using self-service kiosks. Our aim has always been to enhance customer service and this system enabled a remarkable upswing in ticket sales, evident from the sales figure of Rs 14 lakh in 2001 to Rs 1.30 crore in 2005.”

According to IAMAI’s estimate, there would be roughly 165 million interactive users (Internet plus mobile users) in the 20-40 age group by 2007. Registering the magnitude of this number and the fact that it is yet to be tapped is an indication that e-ticketing in multiplexes has a lot to gain still.

The research was conducted in collaboration with Cross-Tab Marketing services.

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